The score finished Steelers 4-1 Coventry Blaze and as important as that was, Saturday night with the Steelers on this very special Saturday was about a lot more than just that.
Our good friends at IPM Group were the match sponsors – they couldn’t have picked a better night to celebrate with the Steelers than this one.
Our mascots were the Malcome brothers Rhys and Jasper, it was Jaspers birthday and he chose to have a photo with Brendan Connolly whilst Rhys chose Marco Vallerand.
The game against the Blaze was our closest fixture to “Remembrance Day” and the Steelers wanted to pay our respects.
We had guests from the Army and RAF, also Sheffield’s national treasure Tony Foulds was present and what a night he and his guests had.
Owner Tony Smith was on hand to give Tony the guided pre-game tour.
Meeting Captain Jonathan Phillips, Aaron Johnson and a number of the players.
Tony then met head coach Aaron Fox and they posed for a few pictures on the Steelers bench.
Before the game started, Tony even went around to the back of the Arena for a sit on the Zamboni.
Then back into the dressing room to wish the boys well before the game started.
Then the serious business commenced with the pre-game ceremony.
First onto the ice was the 4th battalion, Yorkshire Regiment Burma Company, what a reception they received with the crowd already on their feet.
Then a special video played showing Tony Fould’s special “Mi Amigo” flypast last February.
Tony was introduced onto the ice accompanied by Warrant Officer Adam Croser who is presently posted in Northern Ireland.
The crowd gave Tony an emotional welcome and a standing ovation. We thanked him for bringing great pride and emotion to our City last February.
It was time for our sponsors IPM to join Tony and Warrant Officer Croser for the ceremonial puck drop.
Young Lucas, Vanessa and Rick Bailey from IPM Group joined the captains and mascots for the “team photo”
Steelers then welcomed Corporal Neil Fevers, presently serving in the RAF at Coningsby.
Corporal Fevers has over 16 years service and has been deployed to Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Falkland Islands.
The fans in the building were then directed to the big screen where Captain Jonathan Phillips, Ben O’Connor, Robert Dowd and Cole Shudra (directed by Dave Burnham) read out the Flanders Field poem.
The last post played and it was followed by an immaculately observed two minutes silence and then Reveille.
Once the National Anthem was completed the fans let out an emotional roar and our guests left the ice.
It was Game Time ….. and what a start our Steelers boys made.
Just 106 seconds in and DeLuca found Vallerand for the 1-0 lead.
Dowdy was on fire, tenacious, aggressive and making things happen every time he was out there. It was only a matter of time before he doubled the Steelers advantage.
The night was a niggly one from start to finish.
Anthony DeLuca, playing with Connolly and Vallerand was playing on the edge, making things happen and when necessary looking after his linemates.
DeLuca and Ross Venus clashed in the 18th minute, both receiving 5-minute majors for fighting.
Steelers dominated the first period and would have been disappointed only to have led 2-0
It was more of the same in the middle period but Aaron Fox’s men couldn’t extend their lead.
Then, out of nothing Luke Ferrara, driving to the net, fell and as he slid into the back of the goal connected with the puck finding its way past Tomas Duba. It was 2-1
No need to panic. Celebrating the news that he was remaining with the Steelers for the full season Marek Toncinsky then restored the 2 goal advantage, making it 3-1 at 44.28
Tanner Eberle then hit the final nail into the Blaze coffin at 50.50 for a 4-1 final score.
Steelers win and add 2 points to their points tally.
On to the presentations. The Steelers man of the match award is sponsored by Bradfield Brewery.
IPM Group were out to make the presentations with Lucas, Vanessa and Rick making the award to Blaze goalie Jamie Phillips first.
Another huge 50-50 prize was then presented to Stephen Brook – this was presented by Robert Dowd.
Harry Ford was victorious in the Shirt Off Your Back Raffle.
Harry chose the game-worn shirt of Anthony DeLuca.
IPM Group were back to present the Steelers man of the match.
He was the heart of the Steelers all night and the fans rose to applaud Anthony DeLuca as he collected his award.
It was time for the Eddy and DeLuca was again joined up with Marco Vallerand to send us all home happy.
After the game, there was still a presentation to make.
Young Max Spotswood had entertained us on the Five Guys sponsored “Dance Cam”
He hooked up with Anthony DeLuca for a photo in the lounge
The lucky programme winner was Jonathan Marshall, he was joined by his dad Andrew and Eric Meland for the photo on the Steelers bench.
One young man was super excited heading to the arena.
His favourite player, Aaron Johnson was back in the line-up. We had to hook the two of them up post-game.
Listen to the Steelers Post Game Podcast
What a great night – there is nothing like a night with the Steelers.
Let’s do it all again next Saturday against the Nottingham Panthers.